Member Spotlight: Making Everyone Feel at Home
Posted by Jennifer Vecchiarelli on December 22, 2017 in categoryStories from the Field

Since 1985, the Literacy Council of Southwestern PA (LCSWPA) has empowered families and communities across Washington, PA, with a range of literacy services. The volunteer-run nonprofit has helped thousands of adults improve their reading, writing, and English speaking skills.

In addition to its adult basic education, GED® tutoring, and children’s literacy services, LCSWPA works hard to provide a comfortable and friendly learning environment for English as a second language (ESL) learners and new U.S. citizens.  

For immigrants, living in a country where you cannot fully understand or speak the native language can be quite an isolating and lonely experience. Accomplishing day-to-day tasks like grocery shopping, reading road signs, and filling out important financial or healthcare paperwork can be difficult or merely impossible. LCSWPA aims to change that.


During the holidays, LCSWPA hosts a large, festive party so that nobody feels like they are alone during this special time of the year—even those who are brand new to the program attend. And, so everyone feels like they all belong, partygoers bring a dish from their home countries.

“For most of us, Christmas is a time for friends, family, and feasting. Our holiday schedules are crammed with places to go and things to do. But for 146 adults in our English as a second language program the holidays are a very lonely time. And if we were in any of the 44 countries they come from at Christmas, we'd feel lonely too.”
—Literacy Council of Southwestern PA

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